QUINTA DA ROMANEIRA
Under the heading 'A new dawn for Douro reds- Many Douro red wines seem to lack polish and sophistication. Not this one', Matthew Jukes writes: 'It has been a long wait for the guardians of the Douro Valley to make truly awesome red wines. While Port is, rightly, the focus for this historic wine region, the famous houses have all been trying to crack the red-wine code for a good many years. Prats & Symington (the amalgamation of Bordeaux maven Bruno Prats and the Symington family, owners of Dow’s, Graham’s. Cockburn’s and Warre’s, among others) come closest with Chryseia, which often hits the spot and gets serious red fans and collectors excited.
I have tasted a lot of wannabe Douro red heroes and they often seem to lack polish and sophistication. Granted,they are inky, powerful and long-lived – a few but not all of the ingredients for collectable wine – but they are usually missing vital parts, namely control, balance and finesse, which Burgundy, Bordeaux and even the great Northern Rhônes have in spades.
Just the other day I tasted the current release 2016 and soon to be released 2017 (due out at the end of this month) Reservas from Romaneira and I could not believe it. Both weighing in at a fit 13.5% alcohol, and with the meticulous build-quality of top Left Bank clarets, but with the heady touriga nacional and franca perfumes and flavours, these wines are sensational. The 2016 is more foursquare and pensive, while the 2017 is pure liquid charm. A new Douro dawn has arrived.' Matthew Jukes, Moneyweek (Jul 2020)
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38th position on Wine Enthusiast’s TOP100 Cellar Selection Wines for 2019 Rating: 95 The Wine Enthusiast www.winemag.com(Oct 2019)
Charming, featuring a nice balance of raspberry, olive and liquorice notes that are fresh and inviting, with plush tannins and tangy acidity lending integrated structure through the spice, mineral and wild herb aromas on the finish. Not a powerhouse wine but offers lots of finesse. Rating: 93 The Wine Spectator, www.winespectator.com(May 2019)
Quinta da Romaneira
Whilst an old estate with a consequentially long history, Quinta da Romaneira only really becomes of note when, in 2004, new purchasers of the estate placed it under the management of Christian Seely and Antonio Agrellos who had worked such wonders at Quinta do Noval. Since then the vineyards have been overhauled, the best old vines have been retained in tandem with a replanting programme for the rest of the vineyard. A brand new winery has been constructed, two-thirds of it underground allowing Romaneira to have a proper cool wine cellar in the heart of the Douro valley.
85ha of vineyard, stretching some 3km along the River Douro are planted with both traditional Douro grapes and some plantings of international varieties.
Of course, this being the Douro valley, Quinta da Romaneira produce some very high quality Ports, but the forward focus of the estate is to realise the potential for table wine. In the words of Christian Seely, "our challenge has been, and remains, to find ways to vinify unfortified wines from the Douro that can take their rightful place among the great wines of the world, alongside the other great classic regions such as Bordeaux, Burgundy or the Rhone Valley."
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